tv American Artifacts U.S. Diplomacy Center Museum Collections - Part 1 CSPAN January 20, 2018 10:00am-10:34am EST
if you seek his monument, look around you. if you seek madison's monument, look around you, we will see it everywhere. >> each week, american artifacts visits museums, archives, and historic places. in 2014, 5 u.s. secretaries of state and secretary john kerry are in a groundbreaking ceremony. curator katie -- >> the diplomacy center is the museum and education center currently under development at the department of state. it will be a multimedia,
publicly accessible, engaging space with public programs that help the general public understand a little bit more about what is diplomacy. and how, possibly, they could become involved. we are actively collecting artifacts, researching history, and developing programs. we have a very active public program already for students. >> one of the ways we celebrate diplomacy is through the wonderful items we have in our collection. >> absolutely. let's jump right in. the first item we would like to show is the oldest in our collection. it is the first treaty that the united states entered into, in 1738. >> most americans understand that american independence in
1776. not only did you have friends and allies that were going to fight your enemies in great britain, but also, the establishment of economic security. this is something that was really on people's minds. adam smith and people who understood the wealth of nations understood that poor nations were weak nations. part of the negotiations with france had to do not only with getting funding and military support, but establishing a treaty of commerce. this was established in 1778. after the battle of saratoga, it was pretty clear that americans
could do this. so, americans first professional diplomats conducted these two treaties. the treaty of commerce was essential. it granted france most favored nation trading status and the french were very excited about getting into the economic trade war with great britain after the war was over, and this treaty would be in effect for several years after. >> it really solidified our relationship with france. the object we have here is a printing of the treating. a famous printer at the time, john dunlap of philadelphia, created about 300 copies of these treaties. very few remain today. we are lucky and privileged to have this item in our collection. he is also famous for printing
the declaration of independence. so, our new nation is emerging. we started sending diplomats abroad. there was some debate in the first half of the 19th century about what our diplomats should look like. should they wear uniforms? should they dress more american? what was american? this was a new nation emerging. >> exactly. that was a real problem. there was not a real serious director for people going to european countries until 1853. jefferson, as secretary of state, said you always need to him and him conduct yourself in plain and simple dress. -- jefferson, as secretary of state, said you always need to conduct yourself in plain and simple dress. it created a lot of confusion. a lot of ministers had taken it upon themselves to glam themselves up, a little bling here and there. finally, the secretary of state had it.
he said this is not appropriate. we need a standard. he gave a very specific directive about what you can and cannot wear. the problem was, you had to be acceptable enough interest to appear before a king or a monarch. so the uniform we have in our collection -- which i think it would be good for you to speak to -- and then i think we can go into its significance. >> we have a uniform in our collection. it belonged to u.s. minister john mason when he went to france in the 1850's. he had it specially designed. it was a compromise of what alice was just talking about. you had to be presentable at monarch court, but you did not want to get to elaborate. so, this is a very simple suit
modeled after an naval uniform, not a military uniform. a hat made out of wall. simple yet elegant is how i like to describe it. >> and mason was secretary of the navy. what is interesting about the circular is how significant it is. once you had the uniform on, you were permitted, once you went to court, to put an ostrich feather in your hat. >> exactly. today, obviously, we do not wear uniforms, but there are aspects to diplomacy. diplomats are ambassadors who sometimes do present themselves in a monarch's court. sometimes, the ceremony might be
arriving to present your credentials in a royal carriage. a male ambassador might be expected to wear black tie formal attire. other than that, there are not too many formalities as far as uniforms or dress. we are very much still simple americans. so, along the theme of an emerging nation, one of the things our founding fathers did was create a rate seal, the symbol of our nation. it is a familiar icon, the eagle holding the olive branch and arrows in its talons. one place the great seal is found most often in diplomacy is in steel presses. and these are fantastic artifacts. also, one thing most people might not know is that the department of state is the custodian of the official great seal.
that might be surprising. there are still domestic duties associated with the department of state. >> when countries fight for independence, they don't have recognition until other countries recognize them. you can say what you want about who you are, but until you are recognized by the international community, you don't really exist. so this seal is the signature of the united states. it doesn't really that are who signs the signature, this seal says this carries the weight of the state of the nation. seals have been used since roman times, usually with wax. these are a little more modern than those earlier presses. >> right, these are called impressions seals.
the seal itself is the disk that is part of the overall mechanism. you can see who is operating this. you can press down and create a raised impression of the document. for me, as a curator and one who collects things, these are great. they really can be markers in time. for example, there are various reasons why the seal needs to be retired. this one is used at the consulate in madras. him and him and so, elsewhere in the collection, we have a rubber stamp that was used at the u.s. embassy in taipei.
you can see the changing relationship of something like that. this was from a consulate in england that eventually closed down. you can see changing national economies, political priorities with openings and closings of consulates as well. so, fantastic items. >> and we have some items here that the seal would be appropriate for. >> and we have a fantastic story about the owner of this passport. >> it is the second oldest passport we have in our collection, and unusual on many
counts. he was a businessman who spent most of his time in new york city, but he traveled back and forth. what is really an trysting him, americans did not need passports to leave the country. it was not required until 1941. so we had to figure out why he would feel he really needed that. back then, they were for shorter-term. so, there was the expectation that you were returning. he was going to europe as his calling card shows. in the early 20th century, a job or was somebody who would buy things for people, by things in bulk. this is when you start to see wealthy people emerging.
there is a market for beautiful gloves. he would go over to paris most of the time and gather up dry goods. we have a detailed accounting of who he owed, who owed him. it is so interesting. he would bring that back to new york city. and that was the area where you would not go to shop, but if you were a person who had a shop, you would go to the jobber and then take it up to your boutique shop where the wealthy person would shop. we are fortunate to have his passport. >> oh, you were surprised when
you first saw this. at the time, passports were huge sheets of paper. he was able to fashion his passport into a handy booklet, very convenient, and he would unfold it, and you can see all of the stamps and the design, and this was such a unique design. the eagle, the wire, and the pattern of the united states of america, the wording around it. that was not the great seal at the time, but it was a decorative element. much like today your passport booklet might have a picture of the statue of liberty or mount rushmore -- >> something recognizable. >> right, our nation in some way.
also unique at the time, the secretary of state signed the passport -- >> personally! >> right. so the secretary of state has a signature or right at the bottom. and one thing i always loved about these passports is that there were not photographs attached, so he had to describe his features. >> himself, yes. >> there were not standardized terms, so he just answered questions, what is the shape of your four head or the color of your eyes. he said he had a straight nose, a round chin, and oval face. >> and it was interesting if you show the photograph because -- >> he had a beard. >> it's interesting he was talking about around mouth and a chin, and there you go, a big old beard. photographs were not required on
passports until 1914. >> quite a while. so, the great seal appears on passports and on foreign service commissions. we have several foreign service commissions in the collection. they are fantastic items and great markers in time. you can see the great seal that was adhered to this commission. this commission belonged to ambassador ryan crocker when he was ambassador to syria in 1998. do you want to talk about commissions and credentials? >> before, people who held the post were called ministers. >> ambassador crocker served several times in his career, not only to syria, but to lebanon, kuwait, pakistan,, iraq.
he was no stranger to that part of the world. when he was serving in syria, in december of 1998, syrians were protesting u.s. and british military actions that were ongoing in iraq at the time. the protest grew to the degree that they ransacked the u.s. embassy and did quite a lot of damage. his commission made it out and unscathed, did not suffer any damage, although we do have another one of his commissions on the wall that was significantly damaged. his commission from 1991, promoting him to the rank of counselor.
he experienced quite a lot serving in those countries, and we are lucky to have his commission in the collection. i think we will get out a new set of artifacts to talk about. >> we talked a little bit about the 19th century. usually ministers and ambassadors have very small staffs overseas. but the issues of counselors and diplomats were not combined. there was an effort after world war i to make sure we had a professional diplomatic service. it combined the counselor with the professional american foreign service officers who had become commissioned.
that is when they had to take a rigorous test. most commissioners at that time were political appointees. early tests were interesting, because it shows you who they were looking for at the time. for many years, the professional foreign service was very white, ivy league, male, educated men who graduated from harvard. let's talk a little bit about the evolution of the testing process. >> of course, today, it's an online environment. back then, there was one time of year and you had to show up. we have a great booklet from
1940 the talks about applying to join the american foreign service and gives some sample exam questions. allison, maybe you want to give an idea of what someone applying in the 1940's might have to know? >> the interesting thing, katie, when they first established the idea of professional testing, you did not need to have a college diploma. you you just needed a high school diploma. i went to warn all of you out there who might want to be a foreign officer, you really should go to college. but it shows you what education him and was like at the time. these were sample questions of someone taking the test. you still don't need to know a foreign-language now, but it definitely helps. some of these questions, i don't know if you could pass them, but i don't think i could, and i am an historian. mostly politicians here, and
they would give you a quote. the puritan hated bearbaiting not because it gave pain to the bare but because it gave pleasure to the spectators. who said that? and it could be any one. >> so, this was a sample of the test folks would use. very different from the 1940 version. it gives sample questions as well as list of colleges in
different states where you can take the exam. but all so opening it up to more locations around the country. this is an interesting booklet. it doesn't have a sample exam. this was used by a woman named mary pendleton. she used it to apply to take the foreign service officer test. you can see that she ripped off and mailed it in. she did join the foreign service and she later became the first female ambassador to moldova in 1992. a nice use of history there. things were changing for women.
>> very much so. just as there was an evolution of wanting foreign service officers to be more generalist. women were not precluded from joining the foreign service, but there were caveats. they had to be single. the first officer to join was in 1924. lucille tried to get married a few years later, so she had to decline the foreign service. and this was the case all the way to the 1970's, when you start to see a major change in departments to bring in more women, realizing that's a great restriction. men who were married who entered the foreign service went with their families, and the wife was very much expected to be the
hostess, and a representative of the united states of america, because ambassadors would entertain at their homes. so women would take courses in etiquette and how to entertain properly. >> and they were completely unpaid for all of that. >> that was a big problem. you were working for the united states, but were not officially an employee of the united states of america. >> and we have changes in 1971 in 1972 that state in no uncertain terms that this tradition of two for the price of one, as they called it, some women might enjoy that and like that, others find it to be exploitative of their time and talents. these were steps in the right direction.
there is still more work to be done as far as bringing more equality into the workforce, but these were important steps in the right direction. so, i think we will bring out another set of artifacts to talk about. >> great. >> so you are looking at a flash card set. a beautiful, custom-designed box and said with a chinese character on the front, and the english translation on the back. and this set, as you can see, also includes seven boxes of cards and phrases. which also has the chinese on the front and the english translation on the reverse.
in this box was used by the u.s. chinese language officer who was assigned to what we know as beijing in 1934. he used the set to master the chinese language. back then, foreign services had to master language, as they do today. language training is a vital component to becoming a foreign service officer. >> so much so that even if you don't need to know a foreign language to join, you have to have a certain level of proficiency. there is an institute where foreign services officers will go to get language training
before today go to the embassy to work. and they break it up into different components. if you come in already speaking farsi, urdu, or arabic, you're going to do great. language training is so important. foreign service officers go through a level of promotion, and you have to demonstrate a level of proficiency before you go through your promotion. depending on how difficult the languages, it could take upwards of 10 months to a year for foreign service officers if they are studying what is considered one of the super hard languages. >> even today, the use flashcards in their studies. we have what we call tools of the trade of the diplomat. flashcards, and a very curious object here.
it looks like a kerosene lantern. it was a kerosene lantern. it still functions as a lantern. but you can see the protrusion in the slide projector. the light of the lantern then projects an image and its portable. very handy for areas that don't have electricity. this was transferred to us by our u.s. embassy in singapore. they were literally doing cleaning out of closets and came a will across this. i am so glad they did not toss this in the garbage. back in the mid-20th century, public diplomacy officers in singapore would use this slide projector lantern, and the embassy had a stash of slides the depicted u.s. politicians, events in u.s. history, scenery of the united states. the public diplomacy officer would go out and engage
communities, most often rural communities that did not have electricity, and give presentations and have discussions about what is america, what are american ideals, american history, and really try to promote america abroad. >> and it looks so antiquated because it was an adaptation of a magic lantern. magic lanterns are used widely before film projectors, and that is exactly what they were. they were powered by kerosene and used by people in their homes to look at visual images. so not only do foreign service officers communicate in their own language, they use visuals to talk to the populace about america, its values. that really helps with the
mission of the department of state, and the mission of the department of state has been since its inception to promote the values of the united states of america, so the better you can communicate, the better. >> diplomats can be deterred by a lack of electricity. they still have to go out and do their job. this is a fine example of going out and doing it despite your environment. >> absolutely. sometimes, they have to make calls on the ground. sometimes, they get instruction. >> absolutely. every good government job has a handbook, right? this is called a resident it was used by a unique class of
newly minted foreign service officers in 1950. normally a new class of officers , to go off to various parts of the world, but this class was unique. they all went to the same place in 1950, and they all went to germany. why would they all go to germany in 1950? >> there was world war ii. what we are looking at here is really diplomatic efforts in germany because of the political instability in germany and the competing forces between communism and bringing democracy back to germany. these officers were specifically trained by using this handbook in a way to promote the american values but also the benefit of having a democratic government as opposed to adopting a communist government. >> these officers were quite
aware by their own personal example they were representing america. ,hey were instructed clearly not necessarily behave yourself, but to recognize that people are watching you because you are an american. the handbook does go into some detail on different programs they were supposed to implement as well as the more your credit parts of their job -- bureaucratic parts of their job. the handbook covers things like citizen participation in government or women in public affairs, or religious public affairs, community councils. in addition, there were programs for education and refugees and other sort of finance type of programs. on the." exide, these -- on the
bureaucratic side, these officers had reports they had dismissed, regulations concerning transportation and classified material. >> what is real interesting about this piece is when the u.s. is involved in a formal war or military conflict, if the military leaves and the diplomats go in, think about the state on the ground before and service officer is dealing with. you were just at war with this country, but you want to maintain a strong bilateral relationship and establish an economic relationship. i think this book was designed to help that. >> the diplomacy center began back in the year 2000 during secretary albright's tenure. since then, the program has
grown. it is a public-private partnership. over the years, it has been raising money, garnering support. on the state department side, the office has come into being, the collection has come into being. we are in partnership with the foundation to develop the exhibitions and public program for the future museum, continuing to collect artifacts. we are looking forward to opening to the public in a few years. >> all weekend long, american history tv joins our cox communications partners to show the history of newport, rhode island. to learn more about the cities on our current tour visit c-span.org/citiestour. we continue now with the history of newport. >> it